Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…
So the song goes, anyway. While those words may ring true for some, others struggle to find ways to enjoy the warm weather and stay within budget. A study revealed that 52 percent of Canadians admit that their summer spending habits have a long-term impact on their savings, while 28 percent will go into debt thanks to their spending over the summer months. That overspending can set your financial goals back weeks, months, maybe even an entire year. However, there are a number of ways to cut back on summer splurging and save money this summer—some are simple everyday tips, others may have you reconsidering your summer plans, but all can help you save money.
1. Watch your air conditioning usage.
Those of us with A/C may use it liberally in the summer months because we’re just not accustomed to the heat! But A/C can be one of the costliest items on your electric bill. Try using it sparingly, and instead turn on fans, which use far less electricity, and close the drapes or blinds during peak sun hours. (These are just some of the ways Canadians are keeping their cool during summer but you can read more here). In addition, remember to replace air conditioner filters. A dirty filter restricts airflow and A/C efficiency, making it run more often and driving up your energy bill. Here are more “green” money saving tips that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life.
2. Start a garden.
You don’t need to have a green thumb to grow some of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of the warmer weather to harvest easy-to-grow eats such as potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, jalapenos, and herbs this summer. It’s a great way to get outside, eat healthier, and save money. If you’ve got children, it’s also a great learning experience for them.
3. Cook outside.
You probably planned to do some outdoor barbecuing anyhow—because it’s fun. However, consider taking the kitchen outside more often this summer and you can save money too. We don’t often think about it, but using the stove or baking in the oven creates a lot of heat within the home that simply causes the air conditioner to run more frequently, costing a lot more money.
4. Dry laundry outdoors.
It may seem old-fashioned, but letting the sun and summer breeze do your drying for you can save you a lot of money on electricity, especially if you have a full house. Plus, dryer sheets and the dryer’s heat are an expensive substitute for the smell and feel of a sun-dried shirt!
5. Take advantage of free sponsored events.
On weekends, we may have a tendency to think about dining out, going to the movies, drinking on patios or hitting the clubs. But big cities and small towns alike generally have some sort of free festival (a foodie event, a concert, a movie in the park, etc.) that can save you a ton of cash. The events are often ideal for the whole family, or can be a great place to gather with friends and meet new people.
6. Shop garage and yard sales (or host your own).
Once spring cleaning is done, many people host garage and yard sales to make some extra money and get rid of items they no longer need. But attending garage sales has its own set of perks, too. Not only does it give you something interesting to do on weekend mornings, but it could also yield some great, inexpensive finds that would’ve cost you much more at a retail store or shop.
7. Walk and bike.
Let’s face it, the idea of trudging through snow on foot is no fun, and biking is certainly not an option during winter. So it’s no wonder we get into the habit of using our vehicles to get around. But summer months give us a reprieve from the cold, so make an effort to either walk or jump on a bike instead of jumping in the car. It’s good exercise, it has many mental health benefits, and it’s good for your wallet to boot.
8. Shop off-season.
Okay, this one might not directly save you money during summer, but it’ll save you money in the long-run. Oftentimes, we buy items when we need them; retailers know this, and that’s when the prices goes up. So during the summer months, consider purchasing your winter gear, heavy blankets, snowblowers, shovels—anything cold-weather related that you think you’ll need come winter. These items are almost guaranteed to be much less expensive when purchased off-season.
9. Go camping.
If that far away vacation destination is going to set you back a few bucks, consider a camping trip instead. Camping is a great and fun way for friends and families to enjoy being outside, go hiking, swimming, and cooking outdoors (some might even say food tastes better when cooked on an open-fire) for a very, very small cost. Not into tents or roughing it? No problem. Many campgrounds have cabins that can be rented very inexpensively. Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it has a ton of breath-taking, jaw-dropping national and provincial parks that anyone can easily fall in love with. Take advantage of our good fortune and get outside!
10. Vacation with Family or Friends.
If camping or a staycation just isn’t your thing, skip the overcrowded, tiny hotel rooms and rent an entire house with a group of friends (or family) instead. You can have great in-home amenities most hotels don’t offer, and your combined monies can save you a bundle. Airbnb is a great place to start planning your group trip.
The summer months can be expensive ones, but they also offer money-saving opportunities we don’t have the rest of the year. Take advantage of some of these tips to save money this summer and keep your finances on track, and if you’re still determined to take an extended getaway be sure to read 7 Steps for Vacationing on a Budget. Here’s to summer, and here’s to saving!
Submitted by: Credit Canada Debt Solutions
Credit Canada is Canada’s first and longest-standing credit counselling agency, a leader in financial wellness, and a proud member of Credit Counselling Canada. For more than 50 years, Credit Canada has been helping Canadians successfully manage their debt and lead financially healthy lives by providing non-profit debt help, free credit counselling services, as well as free money management tools and budgeting solutions.